Washington State VHPA — June 16, 2018 Meeting at the Olympia Airport

Meeting opened at 11:00 AM by Mel Latham.

Good Morning. I’m Mel Latham; this may seem a bit like a repeat from last year, but I’m presently serving as your Chapter President. David Eck would normally have been in line to accept an opportunity to serve, but he lives in Moses Lake and expressed a concern over serving from that location. I was asked if I would consider it and I said that I would if nobody else wanted to. So here I am.

A brief personal history, if I may. I live in Tacoma’s North End, two blocks away from VFW Post 10018 where I also serve as the Quartermaster. I am still working, and I enjoy my work very much. I am a Washington State Certified Electrician and work as an Electrical Inspector for The Army Corps of Engineers. I recently did a five-month assignment on two Electrical Projects and an Elevator rehab at The Dalles Dam, 90 miles up the Columbia River from Portland. I’m just starting on a building renovation project at American Lake Veteran’s Hospital. The work we have lined up there could take me into retirement.

On February 20th though, I was at my Niece’s wedding in Santa Barbara California. That is why I was unable to join you at Famous Dave’s.

All members present Saluted the Flag and Recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Opening Prayer by Chaplain Pat Staeheli.

Reading of February’s Minutes at Famous Dave’s, Tacoma

Our Secretary was not present. We are still missing February’s Minutes. Once they are found, I will send them out to our membership.

Treasurer’s Report, John Schafer:

$16,758 +$225. We have 136 members.

Introduction of members. We started at the back and introduced ourselves with a brief description of our Aviation background.

Old Business:        None.

Treasurer:             John Schafer will continue as Treasurer.

Secretary:              Pat Staeheli is filling as secretary.

Webmaster:         Bill Vaughn is still the webmaster, but is looking for a member to serve as an alternate. Rick Walker has volunteered to step in as Webmaster. Rick’s email is: BLACKDAWGSWP@hotmail.com .

Other Old Business: None.

New Business:

Chapter Updates. I have been reminded that we normally send Chapter Updates to our Aviator Magazine. Sorry about overlooking that – I’ll make sure that it happens (with pictures) any time we participate in an event. I’ll also commit to sending out copies of our meeting minutes within two weeks of our meetings.

I got an email from Al Major in Bellingham who asks:

Thanks for the email. Unfortunately, I’m not able to attend this one.  I asked three different members about car-pooling, and they all said they weren’t going either.  I live in Bellingham, so the drive makes for a long day.

Which brings up another point.  When is there going to be a meeting on the north end?  If you are missing members, and have lapsed members, I suspect part of the reason may be this obsession with having meetings in Tacoma and Olympia.  A cursory look at the roster shows a significant number of VHPA members reside north of Seattle.

I replied:

I agree, and yes, I’ll make it a business topic Saturday. I recall that we had a meeting on Whidbey Island and took a tour of the Naval Air Facility a number of years ago. I also have an old Army Pilot (now Marine) friend out by Fort Eby State Park. Might be able to get him involved if we have a meeting up your way… I will look into it and give you, well, all of us, some feedback.

I like the Marysville area – I was involved in the Oso landslide recovery effort and spent three weeks up there. I’ll see what I can come up with.


In a general discussion, it was decided that I would pass this on in our minutes and that we would further discuss the following two options.

Would be that we rotate our February meeting from Famous Dave’s to a place up near Marysville. The Tulalip Casino comes to mind, but there are other places to consider as well.

Would be that we add another meeting in late April up in Marysville, again with the same locations mentioned above.

From Pat Staeheli: The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field has asked if we can support their Jet Blast Bash on August 4 – 5 (10 AM – 4 PM) by bringing the Huey up to participate. We would actually transport the Huey Friday evening, August 3rd. I have talked with the Museum and will look at the proposed spot Thursday morning July 19th. Any volunteers?

It was also brought up that there is a Mission Opportunity at Sedro-Woolley on August 11th. More information on this one is pending.

Logan Thorning is the new POC at The Olympia Flight Museum (360) 705.3925. I have cleared both dates with him.

Spokane Meeting:

Dave Eck isn’t available to meet on August 18th, so let’s pick any other date than that. Here are a few Saturday suggestions: August 11, August 25, September 1, September 8 or September 15.

Members present selected September 15th.

Our location has been booked at: Timber Creek Grill Buffet, 9211 East Montgomery Ave. Spokane, WA. Date: Saturday, September 15th. Time: 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

POC’s:  Dennis or Sean at 509-892-6390.

Our meeting was closed in prayer by Pat Staeheli.

All members Saluted the Flag in Retreat.

Respectfully Submitted:

Mel Latham


Okay, back to present time.

There are three topics I want to bring forward before we head over to Spokane for our September meeting. First, is an upcoming Huey response, second is our early meeting next year and third, is a request for a speaker at our Spokane meeting.

  1. The previously mentioned Huey response has a minor error in it. I have been in touch with The Museum of Flight as well as the Veterans group in Sedro-Woolley. As it turns out. The Museum of Flight wanted us for August 4th and 5th. The Veterans group in Sedro-Woolley also wanted us for August 4th, not August 11th. I have cleared both dates with the Olympia Flight Museum and we’re good to go at 0700 on the 4th. What I ended doing is meeting our POC at The Museum of Flight and explained the Sedro-Woolley request. The Museum of Flight has agreed to have us do the Sedro-Woolley event that Saturday and then their Jet Blast Bash on Sunday, August 5th. We would spot the Huey at The Museum of Flight on our way back from Sedro-Woolley Saturday afternoon.

We need a driver for Saturday and Sunday and some volunteers. Please call or email me about this.


  1. As mentioned in the minutes, I got an email from Al Major in Bellingham who asks about a chapter meeting north of Everett. I had planned on bringing this up again at our Spokane meeting but was advised that I should canvass our whole group, not just those who will be in Spokane. So here are the two questions that I would put out:

2.1 Would be that we rotate our February meeting from Famous Dave’s to a place up near Marysville. The Tulalip Casino comes to mind, but there are other places to consider as well.

2.2 Would be that we continue with Famous Dave’s and add another meeting in late April up in Marysville, again with the same locations mentioned above.

Please call me or send me an email as to which of these two choices you want me to line up. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing us continue with Famous Dave’s in February and add an April event in Marysville. So that’s my vote, but I’m just one person, please let me know what you would like. I will go with the majority decision taking calls and emails up to the date of our Spokane meeting. Once you let me know what to do, I’ll schedule these events and fill in our Treasurer.

  1. Spokane Troops (Sorry – I’m Cav): We had a wonderful guest speaker at our June meeting. Is there any chance that you can line us up with someone from your area who can give us a 15-minute talk? Let me know, please. If not, I may ask a VFW acquaintance who lives in Spokane.


See you in Spokane on Saturday, September 15th.

Best Regards

Mel Latham


2018 Officers

President:            Mel Latham        360-890-1798     mclatham84@hotmail.com

Vice President:                 Jim LaPenske      206-714-3283     jimlep3@comcast.net

Members at Large

Mid Term:

Senior:  Dave Eck             253-447-4993     david@lighthousefg.com

Junior:   Hal Thornton      509-829-0737    hnbthorn@aol.com


Secretary:           Bill Lyons             509-829-0737    hnbthorn@aol.com

Treasurer:           John Schafer       253-874-1306     johnshafercpa@comcast.net

Web Master/Photos:       Bill Vaughn, Rick Walker

Quartermaster:  Bill Lyons             509-829-0737    hnbthorn@aol.com

Sgt at Arms:        Jim LePenske      206-714-3283     jimlep3@comcast.net

Parade Coordinator         Pat Staeheli        253-859-4185     pgstaeheli@yahoo.com

Chaplin:               Padre Francis Jeffery       253-588-3478     fjeffery@aol.com


Photos: Dan Fox 253-531-8242     two-foxes@msn.com

Past Presidents

2000      Jack Salm Jr. Founder,  National VHPA President (2009)

2001-2002           Tom Wie   (had to drop out, Jack Salm reelected)

2002-2003           Jack Salm Jr.

2004      Pat Staeheli

2005      Dave Rosenkranz

2006      Dick Glasgow   (Died Feb. 21, 2007)

2007      Chris Farwell

2008      Paul Fleming

2009      David P. Eck

2010      Frank Jones (Health issues Feb. 2010)

2010      Bob Brown

2011      Mark Hansen

2012      Mark Hansen

2013      Don LeMaster

2014      J C Combs

2015      J C Combs

2016      Bob Brown

2017      Dave Saunders

2018      Mel Latham

Webmaster: Bill Vaughn and Rick Walker